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Summer on the Island: How Carver Elementary Ran a Successful Study Island Summer Contest

Summer on the Island: How Carver Elementary Ran a Successful Study Island Summer Contest

What’s a fun way to keep students engaged in learning during the summer months? Let’s start with what’s not fun: summer learning loss. Summer learning loss can have students losing up to three months of math and reading skills, which can have 9 out of 10 teachers adding at least three weeks of reteaching lessons to their already-packed fall semester lesson plans, according to the National Summer Learning Association.

Here’s why we’re talking about preventing summer learning loss in the middle of October—we wanted to share how a Minnesota school partnered with Edmentum to have students participate in a summer contest by using one of our K–12 programs, Study Island, during the summer of 2018. It was important for us to be able to share how the school accomplished improved student engagement, increased parental involvement, and summer learning loss prevention during the summer break in a fun way. We also wanted to share the results of the contest to hopefully encourage other schools to brainstorm ingenious ways for their own students to be educationally engaged during the summer.  

Carver Elementary School, a Minnesota school located in the Eastern Carver County School District in Carver, Minnesota, is an innovative school campus that opened its doors in the fall of 2017. It was focused on exploring the benefits of personalized learning, but it didn’t have an easy-to-use system to gather actionable data—teachers were even using sticky notes to track progress! That is one of the reasons why Carver Elementary’s principal, June Johnson, agreed to partner with us when we reached out to offer educational programming in exchange for ongoing feedback from the school campus about how our programs can better serve teachers and students across the country. You can read more about the collaboration between Carver Elementary and Edmentum in this June 2018 press release.

Using Actionable Data

One of the programs that Edmentum provided to Carver Elementary was Study Island, a K–12 standards-based practice and assessment program. Study Island offers an NWEA™ MAP© Link integration feature, making it easy for the campus to import MAP test results into Study Island, which generates personalized learning paths for students based on their RIT scores.

Once students begin working on their personalized learning pathways, teachers and administrators have the ability to run reports based on each student’s specific pathway to monitor progress and use that actionable data to easily identify students who require additional attention. Carver Elementary teachers are able not only to intervene early based on the data that they gather from Study Island reports but also to share reports with parents in order to involve them in their children’s progress.

Parental Involvement

To combat the summer slide, Carver Elementary decided to run a Study Island summer contest and, of course, involve parents. Study Island can be accessed on any electronic device (including smartphones). Teachers wanted to make sure that parents understood the reason for the contest and to share best practices, so letters were sent to parents explaining:

  • What Study Island is and does
  • Instructions for parents on how they can log in to Study Island
  • The benefits that Study Island could have in avoiding the summer slide
  • How parents can access and review their students’ progress
  • The contest purpose of incentivizing students to continue learning math and reading

“Summer on the Island” Contest

The “Summer on the Island” summer contest ran from June 18 until August 24, 2018. Students won Blue Ribbons for both math and reading, and they were encouraged to spend as little as 30 minutes a week per subject to prepare them for the 2018–19 school year.

Once a child passed a topic in Study Island, a Blue Ribbon would appear next to that topic, which then allowed the student to move on to the next topic. The contest was for both math and reading. Students earning 10–15 Blue Ribbons achieved a bronze medal, 16–19 Blue Ribbons achieved silver, and 20-plus Blue Ribbons achieved gold—meaning that a student only needed to achieve 2–4 Blue Ribbons per week to reach a gold medal! Edmentum wanted to incentivize the students at Carver Elementary by giving medal-achieving students the opportunity to help design a game in Study Island as a token of our appreciation to the school for being willing to partner with us.

Once students returned to school in the fall, the medal winners were announced! For achieving 10 or more Blue Ribbons during the summer contest, 12 Carver Elementary students won medals. Overall, there were 420 Blue Ribbons achieved (the majority in math) and 720 student logins throughout the entire summer. Based on data, 3rd grade students were the most engaged in Study Island. 

We are looking forward to partnering with Carver Elementary this November when the school will be able to roll out our K–8 individualized learning path program, Exact Path. In the meantime, check out what Carver Elementary is currently up to on the school website, and learn more about Study Island and the NWEA MAP Link integration feature it offers!